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Pulse Health The Power Of A Good Breakfast

It's morning and your alarm clock is ringing your brains out. You quickly wake up, rush through your morning activities and zoom off to work. You barely had time to make yourself presentable, let alone spare some time for a bite. This is the normal routine of many Ghanaians, who in a bid to stay productive forget one of the major ingredients for a successful professional life: a good breakfast.

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Why is breakfast so important? First, there’s the energy factor. Your brain like any machine needs the right fuel to operate effectively. Your brain's fuel is glucose, obtained from carbohydrates found in a good breakfast. No breakfast means a brain-energy slump by mid-morning. A good breakfast will give you a memory boost and improve concentration levels. It will also go a long way to improve your mood and lower stress levels. Whether you are student or a business executive, a good breakfast is the sure way to keep you sharp and make you outstanding.

 

The next reason is weight control. Many studies in both adults and children, have shown that breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than breakfast skippers. One theory suggests that eating a healthy breakfast can reduce hunger throughout the day, and help people make better food choices at other meals. While it might seem you could save calories by skipping breakfast, this is not an effective strategy. Typically, hunger gets the best of breakfast-skippers, and they eat more at lunch and throughout the day. Breakfast-eaters get their metabolism humming and tend not to consume as many calories during the entire day, so they wind up weighing less than those who don’t get the benefits of eating breakfast.

 

People who skip breakfast are also more likely to have high cholesterol and a larger waist size, than people who don't skip breakfast, according to a study published in December 2010 in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." This effect was most pronounced in people who skipped breakfast both as children and as adults.

 

Finally, you may be jeopardising your long-term health. A University of Nottingham study found that those who skipped breakfast were more resistant to insulin. Insulin resistance increases the risk of developing diabetes.

 

The following are some tips on how to prepare a good breakfast:

 

  • Pick 2-3 foods, including at least one from each of the following food groups:

 

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    • whole grain bread and cereals like oats, wheat, corn and millet. The more the fibre the better. As such typical Ghanaian porridges such as koko can be eaten with whole grain bread which is high in fibre.
    • low-fat milk and milk products such as low-fat yogurt.
    • fruit or vegetable group such as bananas, apples and carrots
  • Good sources of protein like groundnut, soya bean and eggs should be a part of your breakfast. Make an omelette or scramble eggs.You can shorten preparation time by chopping up your vegetables ahead of time. Eggs should however not be eaten in excess since their yolks pack a lot of cholesterol.
  • Pick up portable breakfast items when you go grocery shopping. You should buy foods like fruit, low-fat yogurt or whole grain breakfast bars for those mornings when you have to eat breakfast on the go.
  • Accompany that morning cup of coffee with a glass of orange juice or milk, or replace it with cocoa drink as this is more nutritious and contains less caffeine.
  • Get up 15 minutes earlier.  You can fix and consume a healthy breakfast in 15 minutes or less.
  • Plan ahead to eat breakfast. This means you should decide what you are going to eat for breakfast before the next morning.  
  • You could also have typical Ghanaian meals like waakye or plantain and beans for breakfast provided it is not too heavy so as to slow you down in the morning. Make sure such meals are well balanced with lean protein and vegetables and with very little fat and/or oil content.

 

Remember to breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince and Dine like a Pauper!

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